Talent evaluation comes across as difficult for the Philadelphia Eagles. The thing is: They’ve actually brought in some decent players in during pre-draft workouts and visits. So what gives?
So Leonard Fournette and Dalvin Cook visited the Eagles in prior to the draft. If you ask me, that’s not a ruse or a ploy by Howie Roseman. The Eagles have a pressing need at running back. They also have a pressing need at corner. Will these pre-draft visits definitively tell us what direction the team will take in April? Not necessarily. However, it could give a glimpse inside the mind of the Eagles’ talent evaluation.
Over the last six offseasons, the Eagles have come face-to-face with a lot of draft prospects. This information is often updated throughout free agency every year. From season to season it’s tough to decipher this information. Over a long period of time it becomes a bit easier to understand recurring traits. Here’s the list from 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015 and 2016. While skipping the players actually drafted by the team, the team has actually done a pretty good job seeking out talented players.
The Eagles are permitted to host 30 official visits to the NovaCare Complex, and can hold as many private workouts as they want away from the team’s facility. Additionally, prospects from the Philadelphia area who provide their own transportation to the NovaCare don’t count against the 30.
Under Chip Kelly, the Eagles often brought in players they wanted. This isn’t a foreign strategy to Roseman. In 2010 and 2011, the Eagles drafted many of the players they brought in. So after the Eagles surpass their 30 player limit, we should have a good guesstimate over what they’re looking for.
Whether the results justify the means, it’s easy to say that the Eagles’ talent evaluation is clearly better than we’ve credited. This doesn’t mean looking at the Ezekiel Elliott‘s of the world. However, it does mean that interviews with Deion Jones, T.Y. Hilton, DeMarco Murray, and Muhammad Wilkerson could be important pieces of the puzzle. What’s the difference you might ask? Players such as Zeke and Dontari Poe were interviewed by the Eagles, however they were taken before the team ever had a pick. Additionally, the others were available at some point in the draft.
Unfortunately, the Eagles will not be able to bring in 30 players with first round grades. Fournette, Williams, and Cook are all players that are going to have high draft grades. The Eagles have to also think about the players they might take in the later rounds. Recent draft history suggests the Eagles are bringing in players that they might have interest in. Who is deciding whether these players are good however?
There have been a lot of quality players that have walked through those Novacare Complex doors prior to the draft over the last seven years. While the team has likely identified talent in positions of need, it’s imperative that talent finds its way to the 53-man roster this year. No more players like Alex McCalister or Jaylen Watkins in the later rounds. Players such as Josh Huff, Curtis Marsh and Daniel Te’o-Nesheim are also not wanted. This team needs to hit it big on the draft, from start to finish. I’m optimistic that this team can choose the right talent. Let’s all just hope that whatever path the Eagles embark on during the draft, they net more starters than duds.